Spring study abroad

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has suspended study abroad for the spring 2021 semester, Provost Lisa Lynch announced in an Oct. 20 email. A variety of factors, including health and safety, the possibility of required early return and travel restrictions all contributed to the University’s decision. Lynch stressed that the suspension is a testament to the “Brandeis community’s responsibility to work to slow the spread of COVID-19 at every possible opportunity.” During this past week, the Office of Study Abroad discussed revisions to study abroad plans with students whose upcoming trips were suspended.  

Water damage to library

Following a pipe break in the Farber Library on Oct. 18, roughly 10,700 volumes on the third floor were damaged, according to an Oct. 21 email University Librarian Matthew Sheehy sent to the community. Damaged volumes, which are now being freeze-dried, are mostly from the Art History and Architecture sections of the Library. Part of Farber 3 and the entirety of Farber 4 will be closed for an estimated two weeks while fans and humidifiers dry the affected areas. 

Food resources

The University made announcements that include changes to spring study abroad, water damage to the Farber Library and new food resources on campus. 

The Brandeis Food Pantry, which is now called Food and Resources for Equitable and Sustainable Health, launches its Grab n Go Program today, Tuesday, Oct. 27. Every week, the program will provide a 10-20 pound bag to Brandeis students in need full of non-perishable food and hygiene products. Students are required to register for a bag and can schedule a pickup time between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

The University is also partnering with Healthy Waltham, Waltham’s community food pantry, to provide food resources to Waltham residents.      

Brandeis Counseling Center

The Brandeis Counseling Center reminded Brandeis students that it is available as a confidential resource, in an Oct. 21 email. The Center wrote that “multiple environmental, social, and political factors [are] affecting us in different ways” and that students are encouraged to contact the Center to schedule an individual consultation. Sessions are currently being held over TeleHealth, a partner that provides virtual medical care. 

In addition to individual sessions, the Center is providing group sessions to allow students to “practice coping together,” as well as workshops to educate students on mental health related skills. “Now more than ever it is critical to our wellbeing to remain connected and take care of ourselves and one another,” the Center wrote.  

A list of available group sessions and workshops can be found here. Students can register for meetings using this form

Upcoming election

University President Ron Liebowitz urged students to vote and utilize the Brandeis VoteDeis Campus Coalition for voting resources. To encourage dialogue surrounding the upcoming elections, Liebowitz shared a list of election-related events happening on campus in the upcoming week. 

Liebowitz commended students who will be participating in election activities, like volunteering at the polls, but reminded the community to continue following COVID-19 guidelines while doing so. 

Liebowitz concluded his message by stressing the importance of community. “As we look ahead to the election, I am confident that we will rise to this challenge and handle whatever might happen in ways that are consistent with respect for one another,” he wrote. 

Hiring of Dr. Aretina Hamilton

Dr. Aretina Hamilton will join the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as Director of DEI Programs, Training, Education and Development. She will start on Jan. 4, according to an Oct. 23 email to the Brandeis community from Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mark Brimhall-Vargas. Hamilton will lead educational initiatives, consultation services, DEIS Impact and the ODEI Student Advisory Council. Hamilton can be reached at ahamilton@brandeis.edu.  

Final exam schedule

The final exam schedule is officially up online, University Registrar Mark Hewitt announced in an Oct. 22 email to the student body. Exams will be held between Dec. 7 and Dec. 15. There will be two exam slots everyday, one at 8 a.m. and one at 8 p.m. Some exams will begin at different times within the slots, according to the schedule.